At Bethesda Gardens in Loveland, we love to see our residents keeping their minds and bodies stimulated by pursuing leisurely activities that they enjoy. On that note, reading is one of the best hobbies for keeping your mind sharp and leaving it feeling refreshed and energized.
The books you read as a child stay with you throughout your entire life. Even if you don't consciously find yourself thinking of them often, favorite childhood stories have a way of occupying a corner of your heart that you carry with you well into adulthood. They're more than just stories — they're formative experiences that shape your perception of the world in ways you may never fully grasp.
Revisiting these childhood classics as an older adult can be a beautifully touching experience that reconnects you with your inner child. Often, something as small as a piece of dialogue or a specific illustration can send you reeling with nostalgia and open a treasure trove of memories you may not have thought about in years — or even decades. Here are a few children's classics that may have been influential on your imaginative, developing mind and might be an absolute joy to reread now as an adult.
There may be no better book to start with than this colorful, anthropomorphic classic of children's literary canon. Originally published in October 1950, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is a book with influence that spans generation after generation. To this day, it is cherished by children and adults of all ages. It's also been adapted multiple times into cartoon and live-action films in the seven decades since its initial success.
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was the first published piece of the seven-part Chronicles of Narnia; however, C.S. Lewis eventually deemed it to be book two of the series once all seven books were completed and ordered chronologically according to the overall plot. Set in a WWII-era Britain ravaged by German air raids, the story follows the four Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy). They're sent away from their mother and home for their own safety.
An eccentric professor named Digory Kirk becomes their guardian, and the siblings spend their summer roaming the seemingly endless corridors and spare rooms of his massive mansion. When Lucy — the youngest of the four — takes refuge in a wardrobe during an innocent game of hide-and-seek, she accidentally discovers a magical world full of mythological creatures that changes the four siblings' lives forever — and has done the same for many a reader.
Penned by the same author as other children's favorites such as Matilda and James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has since become a household name in the world of classic children's literature. The quirky, musical novel has sold over 20 million copies worldwide in just over half a century since its January 1964 publication. Similar to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the novel has seen multiple adaptions and its memorably bizarre characters have tickled the imaginations of young people for generations.
Charlie Bucket has never known much in the way of wealth or luxury. However, his close-knit family has always been a source of comfort and contentment; together with his mother, father and four grandparents, he lives a simple life of diligence and hard work that's already taught him at a young age to find pleasure and joy in the little things. When a stroke of fortune grants him the opportunity to tour Willy Wonka's mysterious, legendary chocolate factory that his Grandpa Joe has told him about for years, he's whisked away from a bleak daily existence of cabbage dinners and delivering newspapers into a world of wonder and magic he's dreamed about his whole life.
Older adults may enjoy being whisked away for a few hours into the magic of this story again.
There are few children's classics as inspiring and hopeful as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The novel was released to little fanfare or acknowledgment; when the first prints came off the press in May 1900, L. Frank Baum was binding the pages together himself. Now, 120 years later, the book has been translated into 40 languages and adapted into one of the most widely-known and adored movies of all time.
Young Dorothy longs to escape the unremarkable life she lives with her family in rural Kansas. Her only true friend is her little dog Toto, and she's itching for an adventure "somewhere over the rainbow." She finally gets her wish when a typical Midwestern cyclone rips through the prairie and whisks her and Toto away to the enchanting kingdom of Oz. With the help of some strange friends she meets along the yellow brick road — Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion — she embarks on an epic quest to the Emerald City to meet the fabled Wizard of Oz in hopes that he might help her get back home. This mission becomes even more urgent when the Wicked Witch of the West begins pursuing them in an attempt to lay hold of Dorothy's magical ruby slippers.
It's a classic, heartfelt romp that older adults may enjoy sharing with their grandchildren.
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